Darkness often surrounds us, but Jesus lights the darkness. We live in a world where darkness seems to overcome light, evil tries to outsmart and outmaneuver good. But it is an illusion. Darkness will never win because Jesus is the Light of the world.
Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory.
The people who walk in darkness will see a great light.
For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.
(Isaiah 9:1–2 NLT)
When Jesus began His ministry He was revealed as the light Isaiah prophesied about. (See Matthew 4:12–17 NLT).
Jesus Lights the Season of Advent
During the season of Advent, we remember His first coming as the Light of the world, who brings light into the hearts and minds of those who believe. As Jesus Himself said, “I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark” (John 12:46 NLT).
We also await His second coming when all darkness will cease and He will shine brighter than the sun. The Apostle John saw this great light when he experienced a vision of the New Heaven and New Earth as recorded in the book of Revelation.
I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illuminated it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.
(Revelation 21:22–24 NASB).
Oh, what a day that will be!
Yet Today There Is Darkness
Today, we see darkness everywhere we look. The twenty-four-hour news cycle is filled with stories of hatred, war, rape and murder, and natural disasters. I’m reminded of an old Don Henley song called “Dirty Laundry.” It’s what the news stations seem to thrive on.
Statistics show that incidences of depression, suicide, and anxiety are on the rise. Teens in particular struggle as social media bullying shrouds them in darkness, and sexual predators prey on the lost and seeking young ones.
The darkness has always been there, ever since Eve and Adam first listened to the serpent in the Garden of Eden instead of trusting God. But the interconnectedness of our world and the speed with which “news” now travels, seem to have heightened the visibility of darkness.
If we are to overcome the darkness, we need Jesus the Light. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5 NIV).
Falling in the Darkness
A couple of months ago, we were visiting my in-laws. When we stay with them, we sleep upstairs. They are getting along in years and don’t use the upstairs for themselves because neither of them can navigate the stairs.
For some time, the upstairs bathroom has not been used and the toilet isn’t hooked up to water to flush. That leaves only the downstairs bathroom available, which is generally not a problem. It’s not that big of a house so the one bathroom is fine. Unless you are sleeping upstairs and need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.
That’s what happened to me on this recent visit. A little before six in the morning, before the sun had come up, I awoke and realized I needed to make a trip downstairs. I opted to leave my glasses in their case and I didn’t take a flashlight. Not wanting to awaken anyone, I also didn’t turn on the light in the stairway. I figured I had gone down these stairs a hundred times over the years. How hard could it be?
After the landing at the bottom of the main flight of stairs, there are two more steps down to the left. I took the first one fine, but then in the darkness I was fooled into thinking the next step was the floor. It was not. I fell headlong to my knees, miraculously missing the glass front of the secretary that should have been in the direct line of my fall. My cry of fear and pain woke everyone anyway.
I tried to navigate in the darkness without a light. That’s never a good idea.
Grateful for the Light
I am grateful that Jesus lights the darkness. He lights my way in this difficult world. He helps me to see the good in His creation and in the people around me. He helps me to see through my own dark thoughts to see the truth of His mercy and justice
The other night my husband said, “I’m glad we don’t watch the news all the time.” I agreed. It’s not that we don’t want to be informed about what is going on in the world. We seek out information on current events in our own way. And we deliberately choose not to rely on the television news stations that do their best to point to the darkness and nothing else.
We choose to look to the Light, to seek out the good, and to do what we can to spread some light and love in the world around us.
Let Jesus Light Your Darkness
Are you struggling to see hope and joy in a dark world today? Do the events of the day overwhelm you and leave you feeling lost? Are you struggling with depression and anxiety because of all the bad there is in the world and in your own life?
I know it’s hard. I’ve been where you are, mired in hopeless darkness. But Jesus can light your darkness. He won’t make every bad thing go away, at least not until the last day when He will usher in the perfect balance of justice and mercy in the new Heaven and the new Earth. But if you study His Word and get to know Him, ask Him to light your way, He will help you begin to see the good that is around you. He will help you to find gratitude for the light that you do have.
Studies show the positive impact of gratitude on mental health. But it can be almost impossible to conjure up gratitude on our own. When severe depression brings utter darkness, it is difficult to see the things we could be grateful for, even when they are right in front of our face. I have learned that the more I trust in Jesus to light the darkness, the easier it is to see my blessings.
Won’t you let Jesus light your darkness so you can see what you already have to be grateful for?
Closing Prayer on Light and Dark
Heavenly Father, in the darkness of this world, we often stumble and fall because we can’t see our way. Lord, I pray for each person reading this article. Shine Your light into the darkness that prevents them from seeing the good in their lives. Open their eyes and draw them to Your Son, the Light of the world, so that they can see and appreciate the blessings of Your creation and the good people in their lives. In Jesus’s name, amen.